Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
The situation with Google Earth and India in particular was extremely interesting to me. The Indian government seemed like a fish out of water, completely at a loss of how to get Google to do anything they wanted. As for Google, they didn't need to compromise, it was no matter of diplomatic relations for them. They were a business, and they had an agenda. The Google spokesperson again reiterated their position that the information provided by these satellites was in the public interest and the information could also be obtained elsewhere, if not from Google Earth.
What also surprised me in this article was the silence of the American government. It seemed as if the American government had no objection to any images of American government buildings. But if they had, what legal action could they take against Google, an American company? This issue of new media challenging the sovereignty of nation-states will not go away as more and more global technologies come to exist.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
If Noopolitik is the study of network nodes, shared interests, soft power, and the collective mind, then this rally is an embodiment of that, despite its status as a "for entertainment" event first. The rally was, of course, originally advertised on the Daily Show and Colbert Report, but it spread immediately and exponentially through Facebook, Twitter, email, web ads, a variety of television ads, and word of mouth. People who have never met before are coordinating carpools and meet-ups, all out of a feeling of shared interest. While the rally is likely to be overwhelmingly attended by American Citizens (and it is framed for Americans with Voting Fatigue), there are certainly no admission fees or attendance restrictions that would prevent foreigners from attending if they too were swept up in the spirit.
There is no traditional nationalist impulse behind the rally's popularity. Instead, it's a general response to the traditional political system, which is viewed with skepticism and apathy. The Rally to Restore Sanity is a nationally recognized unifying event that will bolster a certain view of what "Patriotism" and "America" really are, and it will do this without Political motivations, government involvement or organization, or divisive politics. Stewart and Colbert have managed to capture the hearts and minds of the nation by allowing the message to spread organically, rather than targeted marketing or viral ads. US policy makers could learn a lot from this rally's model for spreading its message; understanding the mind and methods of your audience works far better than overt declarations and diplomacy.
On a related note, I did a quick search for Google Earth on Google News, and was interested to see that China has released its own version of the mapping service. (You can read the article here). This goes along well with our group report, which we will discuss in class on November 2, as much of my research focused on China continuing to exercise its state sovereignty while still participating in the global flow of ideas. Even with this new program we can see how China’s behavior still reflects what Arquilla and Ronfelt define as realpolitik, or power leveraged for the state. For example, many of their maps cannot be viewed at high resolution due to state secrecy. But these influences culture and also suggest the spread of China’s soft power. This subtle control of information and media has also become an influence on international politics. It will be interesting to see how a new strategy of control will develop so states can retain their power as a state over emerging technologies, or if high-tech firms such as Google will continue to challenge information sovereignty.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Beyond the discussion if with globalization the nation state will diminish his capacities or will disappear it important to realize that in the international arena there are more actors like Google, an globalized new public sphere and public opinion, which play a role at the local level but articulated itself at the international level too. Then, the challenge for the nation-states I not just about relating with actors like Google but with actors like public sphere and public opinion too, locally present but at the same time, in a given issues, with presence and relevance in the international arena.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Networks, in the social sense, are studied to understand communication flows in terms of relationships. As we saw in the Amelia Arsenault article, networks can be formal and informal, and can exist between both organizations/businesses and people. Arsenault describes the three theories of networks as being Actor Network Theory (ANT), The Network Society, and Network Analysis. These theories do not disregard the technological network by any means, but have different interpretations of how technology interacts with social networks.
The interesting aspect of ANT is that it does not separate the individual from the technology he/she uses. This means that a person functions with their computer, for example, to influence the network. This theory therefore seems to attribute everything to a network, as any tool one uses, albeit technology, is significant.
The network society acknowledges that we have always had a network society, but now networks are used to define meaning. Technology therefore, aides the communication of networks. I think this theory is practical and describes the technology age we live in today.
Furthermore, The article of Grewall's lecture argues that networks have been a driving force behind globalization. Networks can include and exclude people, and this can be see in the context of globalization. For example, Grewall uses the example of English as the standard in business. This has resulted in English as the "global language." Those that can speak English can participate in international business while arguably those who cannot are left out. While this may seem like common sense, its interesting to discuss if English will STAY the dominate language. Clearly networks propel this "standard" that has been made, but would it continue without the networks? Grewell mentions this in his article, when he talks about the fact that non-English speakers now teach English to other non-English speakers. In theory, this pattern could continue without networks requiring English to be spoken. Interesting food for thought.
Last class, we discussed David Grewal's answers on Network Power. I'd like to put his example that languages are learned because of extrinsic value to the test. Recently, China backpedaled on a piece of legislation that would mandate that Mandarin Chinese would be the official and sole language of instruction throughout all Chinese universities. The legislation was retracted due to a great outcry from Tibetan students.
The students' main concern was their self-proclaimed right to Freedom of Language. These protests are also coming on the heels of a Bilingual Education program that has been in effect in minority regions in China for years now. Chinese officials are clearly sensitive to public sentiment, and certainly do not want to risk widespread protests or civil disobedience, or else they would not have stated that they would not enact the Sole Language program in areas where "conditions are not ripe."
Grewal asserts that standards, which are of course important for network efficiency, are chosen for their extrinsic values rather than their intrinsic values. His major example of this is language, specifically how English has become the international language of choice for business because of the strength of the US economy and the reach of US businesses. This sort of reasoning could be applied to a smaller scale. Chinese would be an excellent language to study in any of the countries around China, and it would certainly make practical sense to gain a good grasp of the Chinese language to gain practical contacts in the local business world. But the Tibetan students are resistant to the Sole Language program. Does this mean that they are opposed to entering into the Chinese business network? Of course not.
They are resistant because they do not want to lose their cultural heritage along with their cultural language. This is really an act based upon the intrinsic value of standards, rather than their extrinsic value. People do not always do things based on personal gain, especially when cultural heritage is in question. Grewal's argument, while valid in a great deal of cases, can not be a catch-all rule, as he likes to frame it.
Just for thought, the United States is dealing with this exact problem as well, although "English Only" legislation has not made a great deal of headway in Congress.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
This week’s session was a broad overview of the concept of networks, and the way they help us connect and form relationships. The first thing that comes to mind is the internet and social networks like Facebook and MySpace that connect people online. However, in many developing nations, there is less access to the internet and more to a mobile network. This technology allows people to be connected through calls and text messaging. In fact that is the idea behind many of the new initiatives in nations like South Africa. One such initiative is the MYMsta by LoveLife. It is a text messaging program that imitates social networking forums, but via cell phones. Teens are able to keeps a profile, connect to others and learn about sexual heath.
I think this is a great example of an informal network, made possible by LoveLife. Young people can get together in a virtual world, with today’s communications technologies. This truely embraces the idea of a network, both as the technology and as a concept. The two are definitely linked; it is possible that a smaller network of teens may be able to form a community without the text message program, but with it, it is much easier to engage in discussion and participate in the community. How we relate has been enabled by technology.
To learn more about LoveLife, visit http://www.lovelife.org.za/media/mymsta.php
Monday, October 11, 2010
In the article of Elihu Katz and Tamar Liebes there are well done comments about the role of viewers as decoders and as active readers. In the article of Koichi Iwabuchi called my attention the remarks about how the decentralizing forces of globalization produce a relative decline of American cultural power and open the way in favor of Brazil, Egypt, Hong Kong and Japan as centers of regional media and cultural centers. Besides, and considering the perspective of the consumer, Mark Deuze write about the consumer of media content becoming a producer and co-creator of content in the fields of journalism, games, marketing and advertising.
By the way, regarding with the comment in one of the articles (Katz, 376-377) about the lack of interest to study the point of view of the consumer, probably explains those simplistic statements that describe the readers, viewers or receivers as “passive consumers” because there is not a given reaction. Perhaps, the lack of reaction show lack of interest or disagreement with the content, or acceptance of the fact that there are not means to face a ‘battle’ on that issue or, even more, that the benefit/cost calculus advises the ‘consumer’ against any reaction about the perspective of the transmitter of the ‘news’. I personally think that in front of the media, the public sphere and the social change there are not spectators but active or passive actors.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I think it is very true that “ Media products are different, not least because they are more than just consumer goods---in important respects they also ‘produce’ us.” We have to admit that we are at some level influenced by media. What we watch on TV, read on the Internet or listen on the radio effect out way of thinking and changes our point if view. It is so powerful that sometimes it can be dangerous. Through media government control their people. Showing one piece of bad news on TV in China about Japan have lead Chinese people to riots. Japanese schools and shops were destroyed. Some Japanese people were hurt. Big demonstrations against Japan could be seen on the streets. All of these couldn’t have happened without media. This is the power of media. Again back to the reading “ we do not just consume, we interact.”
That pessimistic approach could be more aggravated if we use the following explanation of Yuen Foong Khong in his book “Analogies at War” (13) about the limitations of human beings regarding their capacities to process of information. He says that “The psychology of analogical reasoning begins with the idea that human beings are creatures with limited cognitive capacities. As a result, a means by which the cope with the enormous amount of information they encounter is reliance on ‘knowledge structures’ such as analogies or schemas. These knowledge structures help them order, interpret, and simplify, in a word, to make sense of their environment. Matching each new instance with instances stored in memory is then a mayor was human beings comprehend their world”.
However, I really believe that the internet and the contra-flows (at the local and at the international level) of information described by Thussu, give us hope because that the individuals –if they assumed an active role- have the option of no being ‘passive consumers or couch potatoes.”
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Well, the answer is pretty much in the question. The Giants are still the Giants, despite an increased voice from smaller firms and media outlets. I certainly didn't know about Nollywood until it was brought up in class this last Tuesday. One of the primary reasons of this is simply that these smaller voices simply get lost in the wash. Thussu and many other authors have done a line by line analysis of media exports and imports for several countries, and found that for a large number of them, US media vastly outnumbers national media in the marketplace. Of course, this US media is often modified or glocalized so that it can better suit the country that it is airing in. In a country with very little national media production, it could be difficult indeed to find a time slot on television or the radio, when foreign owned programs have already bought up the best airtime. The voices from the periphery are not always heard in this environment where we have at the same time incredible diversity in individual channels and programs, yet relatively few suppliers (McChesney)
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I’d like to offer an extreme example of how people react to media broadcasts: the current Taliban propaganda in Afghanistan, promising a better future for all Afganis, and specifically women. We may not be paying attention to world news, but someone out there certainly is: in response to the According to US intelligence, the new attitude towards women is “an attempt to mitigate the bad publicity from a recent Time magazine cover story containing a haunting photo and an article featuring a woman whose face was reportedly mauled by Taliban members. ‘That really stuck it to them,’ he said. ‘Now they're softening their tone regarding women’." The Taliban is using the media to reach people who have no other access to news content, bringing radio and print newspapers to rural areas to try and win people over that their rule would be better than the current government. Knowing that people are reacting to the propaganda campaign from the Taliban was actually effective is certainly an example of active engagement in response to the media, although US forces are working their hardest to counter these claims. In any case, this is a prime case study in the idea that when you have only one main point of view being broadcast, you’re probably going to listen.
Find even more information from Time magazine, or read the entire October 1 Washington Post article here.
Friday, October 1, 2010
So what is the real legacy of WSIS? It is certainly not universal, and it is certainly not perfect, to be sure. There is no catch-all solution to the question "who controls the media?" As we discussed in class, true cosmopolitan globalization has not occurred worldwide, nor likely anywhere in the world. As such, every nation-state has its own governmental regulations, its own internal media legislation and market that determines what and how much information will be transmitted outside of its hard borders. Some countries, like North Korea, Burma, and China employ isolationist networks and filtering to various degrees, all of which are directed by the government. Other countries like the United States have a very egalitarian, liberal view of media boundaries, with a plethora of privatized companies that dominate the international media and information trade.
The WSIS was a major step towards coordinating the laws and regulations of global media governance, but it, and any similar summits that follow, will be hard-pressed to find a universal solution to this problem. It is perhaps impossible to completely dispense with national identities, and the protective culture quotas or filtering systems that might spring from them (or from political corruption). On the other hand, there might always be a need for some sort of impartial oversight in the event of a purely privatized media industry.
In any event, the field of International Communications is one of the youngest in the overall field; there's still plenty of time for improvement of the theory.